Scotland: Highland congregations threaten to leave Church of Scotland over gay ministers

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Two congregations in the Scottish Outer Hebrides have threatened to leave the Church of Scotland over the ordination of ministers in same-sex relationships.

Earlier this month, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland passed a motion to allow the ordination and appointment of ministers in active same-sex relationships.

Kinloch and Stornoway High Church of Scotland, situated on Lewis, stated that the General Assembly should not have tackled the matter.

Kinloch minister, the Rev Iain Murdo Campbell, said: “If the word of God had the authority, which it should have, the question and debate should not have been in the General Assembly in the first place.”

In response, a Church of Scotland spokesman said: “The decision made last Monday on the long-running debate on the issue of ministers in same-sex relationships maintains the Church of Scotland’s traditional stance on the doctrine of human sexuality whilst giving the go-ahead in principle, and subject to ratification at the 2014 and 2015 General Assemblies, for individual Kirk sessions to determine whether their congregation might call a minister in a civil partnership if it chooses to do so.”

The spokesman added: “In the meantime courts and committees of the General Assembly will maintain the status quo.

“We hope the debate on this matter will be proactive and constructive.”

Over the past few years a number of ministers have left the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy.

The Reverend Paul Gibson resigned from Tain Parish Church after just eight months into the post.

In February, the Reverend Dominic Smart and his congregation of 300 at Gilcomston South in Aberdeen also left the Church of Scotland.